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Hugo Dyson

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Hugo dyson

This image is a still from the 1965 film 'Darling' in which Hugo Dyson had a small role.

Henry Victor Dyson Dyson (1896 – 1975), generally known as Hugo Dyson and who signed his writings H. V. D. Dyson, was an English academic and a member of the Inklings literary group. He was a committed Christian, and together with J.R.R. Tolkien, he helped persuade C.S. Lewis to convert to Christianity.

Dyson taught English at the University of Reading from 1924 until obtaining a fellowship with Merton College, Oxford during 1945. He retired during 1963 but returned as emeritus fellow during 1969, teaching the newly-introduced "modern" literature paper. His tutorials were memorable because many of the writers discussed had been personal friends of his.

Dyson was not a prolific writer, but the good quality and voluminous quantity of his lectures and general conversation had quite an effect on people. He much preferred talk at Inklings meetings to readings and is recorded by fellow Inkling Christopher Tolkien as "lying on the couch, and lolling and shouting and saying, 'Oh God, not another elf!' during The Lord of the Rings. Dyson was hardly alone in his distaste for Tolkien's stories, and eventually Tolkien quit reading from them to the group altogether. Actually, it seems from the letters of C.S. Lewis that Dyson was considered the most fun loving of the Inklings, and Warnie Lewis liked him best of all.

Dyson, an expert on Shakespeare, was asked during the early 1960s to host some televised lectures and plays about the great writer. His easy, relaxed style won him several new friends. This would result in his having a small part in the film Darling during 1965 where he played the role of Professor Walter Southgate, a major literary character of the age who would die in the film.

Hugo Dyson lived at 32 Sandfield Road in the east Oxford suburb of Headington until his death, the same road in which fellow Inkling J.R.R. Tolkien also lived. He is buried in Holywell Cemetery, Oxford.

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